Excerpts from my Journal | 07

Posted: March 10, 2017 by Rachel

Last month Dom and I spent a night in the mountains. I didn’t notice until two days later that he’d brought home one of the small lotion containers from the lodge. I’d gone looking for lotion, my hands were dry. So I used some of it. And that scent… that deep, spicy scent… I just can’t figure out what it’s reminding me of. Was it cologne that a past boyfriend wore? A favorite candle long burned out?

Every evening before bed, now, I put on some of it. I’m desperate that one of these times it will come to me. Where in my past it had its place.


Here’s what going on three days without Dom has taught me. One: I feel his absence so fully that it almost presses against my lungs. Two: I really do love being at home. We have–finally–built a home that is truly ours. Three: I wake in the night and I reach out for him. Five: this was good for me. A chance to miss him. Maybe it will be good for him, too.


Can people really change?
Because all I can think about is that I desperately want to be a better version of myself.


Thanks for reading,


Excerpts from my Journal | 06

Posted: December 23, 2016 by Rachel

I spend a lot of time alone in my head, which I’m starting to think might not be all that good of an idea for someone like me. But, my god! this time of the year! I always feel as though I just lose the tiniest bit of footing on life, my thinking, my future.


This will be my sixth Christmas in Las Vegas. From the very beginning there has been a sort of quiet understanding that I’ll feel the first pangs of homesickness around the 20th, as Christmas looks closer. But it isn’t until Christmas Eve — when I’m surrounded by family who has only known me for these six years, with people I feel like I still know so little about, but who have welcomed me into their world with open arms — that the full weight of everything comes down on me.

I don’t feel as though Kitchener is home anymore, but on Christmas Eve, my heart forgets all that and aches in a way it never could the other three hundred and sixty-four days of the year.

It aches like it hasn’t forgotten how far I’ve come and all that I’ve left behind … even if I have.


Yesterday morning was one of those mornings you need to write about because it was perfect in its simplicity. There was sex and breakfast and reading and coffee enjoyed before going cold and I never wanted it to end.


I want to write so badly, can feel the itch in my fingers, but I worry that I have nothing left to say.



Thanks for reading,


Excerpts from my Journal | 05

Posted: March 12, 2015 by Rachel

These pieces are anywhere from 1 month to 2 years old, but upon re-discovering them + finding strength in them, I knew that I wanted to share them.

Sunday. It was gloriously beautiful out. The kind of day where everyone is suddenly outside. your neighbors are cleaning their cars, trimming their hedges and stepping out for a long walk. The air was buzzing with excitement. Children were running the streets, filling them with laughter. The sun shining on our faces.

It was glorious.

I wore a dress, the first one of the season. Pink and black striped, a gift from my mother-in-law this past christmas. The dress, and me in it, were a perfect indication of how I was feeling. Carefree. In love. Relaxed.

Sunday. I will never forget you.


I haven’t cooked anything lately that I’m terribly proud of.

There was a cabbage roll casserole (my aunt’s recipe) that I made this past week

but beyond that, I’ve been sticking with the basics, read: easy.


Today I thought back to when I first moved to Las Vegas

before marriage, before the baby,

when my favorite thing to do while Dom worked all day was try new recipes:

chicken piccata, apple turnovers, lemon cake with an orange glaze, jambalaya.

I’m so boring now.

I come home from work, from picking DJ up from daycare,

and put together whatever I can with an anxious toddler nipping at my ankles.

And I’m tired, I’m always tired when I get home;

I just want to lay down and close my eyes for a few moments,

shake the work day from my body

maybe have a small glass of wine.


I’m great at starting things. I mean really great. I’m overflowing with inspiration, excitement and resolve. i dive in head first. Let the projects swallow me whole.

And oh, do i ride the wave for a while. I’m happy, and why wouldn’t i be when I’m creating? I’m in my element when I’m creating, no matter in what form. writing. crafting. knitting. scrapbooking. painting. it’s all the same. they all make me feel as if i can breathe better.

But. (yes, there is always a but, isn’t there always?) somewhere near the halfway point the wind dies and my sails drop. the excitement wanes. hanging on to my resolve is like trying to hold sand in the palm of my hands.

This is when I push the project aside and sometimes even begin a new project that is all shiny, new and exciting.

Sometimes i back up and pick up an old project, but (too) often, they sit, unfinished.

My mom tells me that I get that from her.

All of these unfinished projects, these unfinished thoughts… they could fill a stadium.


it was after dinner,
our bellies full of pasta
that i sat at my computer
engrossed in someone else’s life and words
(like i’m doing often these days)
and it occured to me:
i’m missing out
on sitting on the couch next to my husband
while i sip my coffee
and we watch our son
run circles around us.

off i go.

Dom’s aunt was over recently and in between giggling over whatever dj was doing at the moment she turned to me and said: “it’s sixteen years ago today that my mother passed away.”

It was so out of the blue that i didn’t know couldn’t think what to say in response. somehow I managed: “i can’t even imagine.” and i can’t.

It made me wonder if, living so far away from all of my family, it would make it easier or more difficult if something were to happen to my parents. would the physical distance equate distance from the tragedy, or would it make it that much worse?

It’s all twisted and odd to be thinking about such things, i understand. but when someone tells you about how they lost their mother when she was thirty, and you’ve just turned thirty yourself, a little piece inside of you thinks “uh oh.”

It made me want to kiss my parents, which of course i can’t because they’re thousands of miles away. such is life, i suppose. but do me a favor: give your parents the kisses that i can’t give mine. and never take them for granted.



Smile more. Wear whatever you want to wear. Leave your hair curly more often. Wear comfortable shoes. Stop comparing yourself to others. Text less, call more. Put your phone down. Better yet, leave it upstairs. Get outside more. Ask for help when you need it. Take it when it’s offered. Wear more red. Stop buying clothes. Assert your worth. Don’t settle. Know when to say no. Be okay with saying no. Stand up for yourself. Give yourself a break. Give yourself the benefit of the doubt. Wear more red lipstick. Tweeze your eyebrows more often. Tell the truth. Be open. Have more sex. Don’t stop writing about your life. Let go of the past, look forward to the future. Be more patient. Enjoy the present. Be thankful for another year…


Each time I drive away from my son, having dropped him at his grandparents, I have what can only be described as a moment of mania. I am so momentarily stunned by the myriad of options I have in regards to how to spend my toddler-free hours, that I am almost unable to move or think anything beyond how incredibly lucky I am to have in-laws who have not only the time and energy, but the desire to spend so much time with their grandson. I know not every mother can say the same.

Excerpts from my journal | 04

Posted: January 28, 2015 by Rachel

Twenty-fifteen. It’s hard to believe where we are. I have someone else’s words echoing in my head, having said it better than I ever could: “I felt like last year I never truly enjoyed the year… I never felt in it. Not being into each task and found myself always floating way to something else. STAY and remember you have time to do it all.”

Yes. Just, yes.


I’m going to write that today is a good day, because it is. It has been. And I will appreciate that no matter what the rest of the day brings.


This morning before I got out of bed, I was catching up on some blog reading on my phone, and I read something particularly moving“The only thing you need to do to be happy is: suspend judgment on yourself.”


I was scribbling a note in my Lena Dunham book when I saw DJ approaching me. When he sees a pen of any kind it’s as though he has tunnel vision, so I knew he was coming right for it. Without giving it much thought, I pushed the red Pentel pen trough my ponytail before he could notice.

It wasn’t until three hours later, after a quick trip to Mc Donalds to procure an iced coffee the size of my head and some serious one-on-one playtime that I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror in the bedroom. I still had the pen in my hair.

Seeing myself like that: wild, curly hair, donned in a hoodie and jeans with the tell tale pen tucked into my hair, I was transported back to my College days. It was me, years eighteen through twenty-two, back when I thought life was easy and that everything would work out as long as I 1) found a good job post graduation, 2) moved out of my parents house, and 3) never stopped writing.


In a little over two months from now I’ll be getting my breast implants, and despite my good intentions, I’m terrified of what people are going to think of me. I’m always too concerned with what people will think of me…



Excerpts from my Journal | 03

Posted: November 26, 2014 by Rachel


I didn’t tell him that the reason I went out last night with him was because I knew it was a situation I would normally have avoided: a room full of people I don’t know, making small talk abound; a night that didn’t even begin until 9:30pm, and in this case didn’t end until 1:30am when I collapsed into bed.

I didn’t tell him that I went last night because I wanted to prove to myself that I could do it, do it well, and make it out alive.


I can’t recall if it was last night or this morning, but I was laying in bed and thought: I feel as though we’re different people now. I feel like I can’t relate to her the way I used to; I thought we’d at least always have that. I’m trying to recall what we have in common, beyond motherhood, but I’m drawing a blank.


I read in a book the other day that too many people feel they go through their lives not really living it, rather, simply existing. Reading that was like a punch in the stomach. “That’s me,” I thought. “That’s exactly how I feel.” And after I caught my breath I thought, ok,now that I’ve said it, what can I do about it?


So here it is, the truth: I’m too hard on myself. I can’t be everything for everyone and I can’t sacrifice what I want it order to make everyone else happy.

I’m a good mother. I may be impatient at times and need time away from DJ, but I am a good mother.

Stop being so hard on yourself, Rachel.

You are a good mother.


As I collapsed onto the bed in tears, all I could think was: this is the second time I’ve cried this week and it’s only Wednesday.



Excerpts from my journal, inspired by Ronnie.

Excerpts from my journal | 02

Posted: May 21, 2014 by Rachel

engagement photo by tamara kate, 2010


i just can’t shake the feeling that i’m meant to live somewhere with open, green fields and dark, chipped wood under my feet. open cupboards and mismatched clay coffee cups stacked on the counter next to a day old pot of coffee. a place where wooded trails are just around the corner and you know all of your neighbors by name. a house with wooden window panes and sheer white curtains, and a yard full of tall grass for dj to roam in. the sparkle – the newness – of las vegas is beginning to wear off.


all i wanted was a few more moments.

okay, that’s not entirely true:

i wanted a few hundred more.


i’m not sure why i’ve suddenly thought of this but i’m recalling – with a smile and a warm heart – helping my best friend go to the washroom on her wedding day, gathering the fabric of her dress in my hands and holding it, with my head cast downwards and my eyes closed, as she peed. i remember at the time thinking of how it reminded me of all the times, while getting ready to go out, all my girlfriends would gather at one of our houses and get ready together, an event that more often than not meant we would have to pee while the others gathered around the mirror. it’s something so silly, but looking back it makes me long for those moments when my closest friends were just a fifteen minute drive away instead of thousands of miles by airplane. so many of my thoughts these days begin like this one did: with fond memories, yet they end with utter loneliness and longing.


i want to be the kind of woman who never lets the fruit bowl go empty.


during pregnancy i had all these ideas about the kind of mother i was going to be. i would possess endless patience. i would play when he wants to play, make silly faces all day long if they would make him smile, and hold him in my arms for as long as he will let me. i guess sooner or later you have to accept that sometimes things don’t turn out the way you hoped they would, and that maybe doing the best you can is better than being perfect.


i’m at such a loss as to how i feel about this. this morning, as i laid in bed it occurred to me that what i might really want is for them to give me a reason to say no.



Excerpts from my journal, inspired by Ronnie.

Excerpts from my journal | 01

Posted: July 7, 2013 by Rachel

At times like this I try to remind myself of how tired he is (how tired we both are) and try not to take it personally, but it’s hard when he is not the man I know.


This morning as I gave DJ his bottle at 6am I couldn’t help but think: I always wanted two children, but this baby stage – these days and nights that just blur and blend together into one big mess of exhaustion and spit up and diapers – is utterly exhausting, and I don’t know if I have it in me to do it again. I sincerely doubt that Dom does either.


Somehow it’s already July. The days are hot and sticky and the feeling of isolation inside is nearly deafening. If only there was some relief from the heat and sun so that I could get DJ and myself outside in the fresh air. For now, though, we are limited to quick errands.


There is an extreme heaviness behind my eyes this morning. To say that I am tired would just not do it justice. This constant struggle to figure out why suddenly DJ is not drinking as much, or why his napping seems to have all but fallen off the map, is exhausting. It’s always a guessing game, and there’s always that hope that whatever it is he is going through is just a phase that will soon be over. I hope for Dom’s sake more than mine that this is the case.


Excerpts from my journal, inspired by Ronnie.